The people of East Turkestan in the extreme west of China have been exposed to severe repression for decades. When you look at the
number of people martyred in East Turkestan, together with post-1965 massacres, you see that it is an unbelievable figure of 35 million. Over the last 15 years especially, China has again embarked upon martyring Muslims living in East Turkestan right before the eyes of the whole world. China is attempting to portray these latest attacks in East Turkestan as a war on terror on their part. Claiming that they are conducting a campaign against separatism and terrorism mainly in its Muslim west, China is actually fighting an all-out war on "conservative" Islam. The Chinese government tries to portray the Muslim Uyghur Turks living in that region as "radical" or "separatist" terrorists. This is totally wrong and highly misleading.
Under this pretext, after being accused of terrorism, many prominent Uyghur have been imprisoned over the past decade or have sought asylum abroad. Uyghur academic and economist Ilham Tohti - who was arrested on charges of separatism while all he did was peacefully challenging the policies of the Chinese government - is one of the latest examples. The whole world witnessed disturbing reports on the inhumane treatment Ilham Tohti had been subjected to while awaiting his trial. And now he has received a life sentence as an outcome of a largely symbolic trial to be used by Chinese authorities to discourage any dissent in the region. In order to justify repression in the region, Beijing exaggerates the threat from Uyghur "separatists".
It is true that there is unrest in the region, but the reason of that unrest is not the Muslim population living there;
for their part, the Chinese authorities prefer to blame Uyghur separatists based outside China for the unrest. Claiming that she incites violence, China blames exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer. However, during peaceful protests Chinese police are known to fire indiscriminately leading to violence and deaths.
It is an undeniable fact that
our Muslim brothers in East Turkestan have been subjected to various difficulties for decades under Chinese persecution but have never resorted to violence and conflict. The Uyghur Turks are a noble people, known for their good manners, honesty, fortitude, and conciliatory nature, obedience to the state, loyalty and devotion. These fine people possess excellent virtues, such as forgiveness, loving peace, respect for different ideas and beliefs and judging people according to their moral values rather than their race.
There has therefore never been any conflict based on ethnicity with the other peoples living in the region, especially the Han Chinese, and neither will there be any in the future. The Uyghur Turks want a climate in which everyone can live together in peace and security, respecting the right to life of everyone in East Turkestan, no matter what their religion or ethnic origin may be. It is obvious that the Uyghur Turks favor peace and security. But peace in the region can only be ensured if the security of our Uyghur brothers is guaranteed.
The international community has important responsibilities in that respect. The support of international societies and organizations is essential for our Uyghur Turk and Chinese brothers to be able to live in peace. Democratic pressure from these organizations, especially the UN, on the Chinese government will ensure that Beijing follows a line that is more peaceable toward the problems and legitimate demands of our Uyghur brothers, and respects their human rights. When the necessary encouragement and direction is provided, when the international community acts as a guarantor, it will be easier to establish peace in the region.
It is natural for China to be keen to protect its national and economic interests but this cannot be done through oppression and aggression. The path that will make China prosperous and strengthen its economic and social regeneration lies in a philosophy that respects human rights, is democratic and loving and that defends freedom of ideas and freedom of belief. Occupation, repression and sanctions have brought the region nothing but tension, disorder and hatred and the days of exploiting nations by such means are dead and gone. For that reason, if China permits the people of East Turkestan to govern themselves and grants the country economic independence, it will gain enormous advantages. An East Turkestan able to manufacture freely within its own borders, living in freedom and freed from the influence of fear and oppression can represent a new center of progress for China.
On the other hand, when we come to China's other claim about our Muslim Uyghur brothers living in the region being radical terrorists; this is something we have to address separately. First of all, we, as Muslims, have to make it known to the whole world, along with China, that Islam is a religion of peace. All forms of violence are sinful in Islam. In the Qur’an, God commands Muslims to be forgiving. A Muslim who abides by the Qur’an and follows our Prophet (saas) has a duty to be peace-loving, affectionate, loving, compassionate, patient and moderate. The moral values of the Qur’an oblige Muslims to control their anger, to respond to evil with good, to always speak and behave in a pleasant manner, to forgive - even under the most difficult circumstances - and to behave justly, even if that conflicts with their own interests. The spread of Islamic moral values is therefore a great benefit for China.
If the Chinese government is concerned about terror attacks and wishes to avoid anarchy and violence, then it must encourage the teaching and dissemination of true Islamic moral values. In a China inhabited by people who live by the moral values of the Qur’an, there will be no need for military occupation and security measures. The unrest and unease will come to a complete stop. The result will be a society made up of individuals who trust and respect one another, treat one another with understanding, are loyal to and respectful of the state and who all live in peace, that spends its money on the wealth of its own citizens instead of military investment and the order and harmony sought by China will thus be established naturally. As the Muslims of the world, it is our duty to make China see the fact that the God-fearing Muslim Uyghur population would be their allies and brothers, not their enemies.- ES
Adnan Oktar's piece on Harakah Daily: